Patients often asked, “What is a pain specialist?” or “How can I find a good pain specialist?” Like any medical professional, the answer lies within the doctor’s education, clinical training, and subsequent certification by a related medical specialty board as an expert.
All medical doctors go to medical school either in the United States or a foreign country before they come here. These doctors will then complete an additional year of training beyond medical school, known as their internship, before becoming licensed to practice medicine. In today’s world of medicine, virtually all new physicians will continue to receive further training in specialty areas, like family practice, surgery, pediatrics, or, in the case of the pain specialist, pain medicine. This post-graduate education can take several more years of study and clinical work to become an expert in their field. After completing the instruction, the young doctor must take and pass an examination to certify that they are indeed specialists in their respective fields of medicine.
Today’s modern, well-trained pain specialist is experienced with invasive and non-invasive therapies to treat severe and debilitating chronic pain. Invasive treatment may include nerve blocks, spinal injections, or the placement and management of highly specialized therapies like spinal cord stimulators or pain pumps. Non-invasive treatment would be more traditional things like pain medications. The field of pain medicine is evolving each day. The recent opioid crisis is driving the practice away from, often harmful, narcotic drugs towards more effective, twenty-first-century means of reducing chronic pain’s crippling effects. One day in the future, we may all be able to wear a unique garment to decrease our aches and pains instantaneously!